Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The Church has the treasure map

The Lenten series continues tonight at St A’s with a talk on “The Scriptural Journey of Mary – the Rosary” by Rev. John Langlois, O.P. 7:30 p.m. in the Church
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Anon asked: “Why does the language in the Bible have to be so hard to decipher? Why is it a puzzle? Not to sound flippant, but wouldn't everyone have been better served if they just got to the point?”

Tom answered: “For one thing, the books of the Bible were written more than nineteen hundred years ago, over the course of centuries, in different languages and out of different cultures, for different purposes and in different literary genres. All of that works against the Bible being as easy to read and understand as a newspaper.

Even more, though, the Bible is a written record of God's revelation of Himself to man, and a means for us to encounter Him personally. These things can't be expressed in words that give their full meaning in one reading.You read Scripture once, and come to know something about God, but if you keep reading it you come to know God Himself, and the better you know God the more you understand His word.”


We have to keep in mind a few things in approaching who God is and what He’s done for us. First, God’s ways are not our ways. He is mysterious; He works in mysterious ways and speaks in mysterious ways. Our finite minds cannot understand the Infinite. And, God is the Infinite. Second, Divine Revelation is an incredible gift! As Tom wrote, God reveals Himself to us, and lets us know who he is. We learn from Sacred Scripture that God is our Father, and we are his children. People lived thousands of years waiting to hear that; we hear it, and don’t seem to appreciate it. It reminds me of some times when I’ve seen kids get amazing toys from their parents as gifts, and complain that they have to read the instruction first to know how to use them. We don’t want to be spoiled children of God the Father!

Lastly, God has given us the Spirit to help to understand Scripture. The Spirit not only has written Sacred Scripture, but also interprets it, through the Church. For 2000 years, one of the main objectives of the Church is to be open to the Spirit in growing in an understanding of Sacred Scripture. In Church councils, the Catechism, and Biblical commentaries, we have Scripture explained to us. These are the main “instructions” on how to use the gift of Scripture. Anyone who studies Scripture with an open mind and heart will be rewarded with a greater understanding of God, life, and themselves. It is well worth the effort! It might take more than one reading, as Tom wrote, but when we begin to gain an understanding of Divine Revelation, it is like finding a great treasure (cf. Mt 13:44). Through the Spirit, the Church has the map.

13 Comments:

At 2:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I still do not understand what you see in the Eucharist. I keep seeing it as a piece of bread. Mmm! I try, but I cannot see it differently.

 
At 2:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Father, my Mom says that the church does not recognize nuns very much, and that they are sometimes mistreated. Why is that? Why do we still use the Adam and Eve story to blame women? Anyhow, that is what my Mom says.

 
At 7:28 AM, Anonymous Kat said...

Anon;

In John 6, Christ explains it and at the Last Supper he gives us the example to follow 'do this in rememberence of me'. Yes it still looks like bread but at the moment of consecration where the priest intones "this is my body" they are acting in the person of Christ aka "In Persona Christi" and utalizing the words Christ spoke at the last supper... this falls back on to when a priest is ordained he becomes an Alter Christus, another Christ.

I wish I could some how make you "get it" because it is such a wonderful thing but all I can do is pray that you see it and suggest you read John 6 and the Last Supper accounts.

But at the consecration, where the priest intones the words "...this is my body" "...this is my blood" that is the moment the bread and wine cease to be bread and wine and become the Body Blood Soul and Divinity of Christ.

 
At 10:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Following up on first Anon, it is such a mystery to me why accepting the Eucharist comes so naturally to some people and is such a struggle for others. People have told me that it depends a lot on whether it was taught in childhood, in both words and actions, and that is sad to me. A child cannot control what he or she is taught or exposed to and yet the absence of this central tenet of our faith in childhood can damage a person's faith life forever. (I feel like I should log in on this blog as the resident whiner because this is the gist of so many of my comments. Sorry)

 
At 11:19 AM, Anonymous Kat said...

Anon,

I wasn't raised catholic...I was a convert and it took me a couple of attempts to get through RCIA and my main sticking point was the Eucahrist It was literally about a month before Easter vigil 1995 that I finally "got it" I was fully prepared to go yet another year through RCIA because I "didn't get it" with the whole Real Presence thing.

it was in a moment of frustration that I threw my RCIA books on my bed one sunday and 'fussed' at God that I didn't get it... my bible fell open to John 6 (the bread of life discourse) and even though I had read and heard that gospel before it just never "clicked" until then.

Even Fr. Greg had a moment of coming around to the real presence of Christ in the Eucarist that he has preached about in his homilies and talked about several times in various places and he was raised Catholic. So I don't think that it is something that is rooted in childhood that if you are older you arn't going to "get it" later on if you don't "get it" now or didn't "get it" as a kid.

 
At 12:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks, Kat, for you generousity in sharing your experience. Let me say that I believe you and others who recount what you do. Maybe I'm still in God's doghouse for years and years of . . . . let's just say bad, truly anti-Christ stuff. I regret it, but it's gonna take more than Confession to spring me.

 
At 12:35 PM, Anonymous Kat said...

Anon;

Wow, you got a doghouse? don't think I was that lucky... LOL. but seriously... if it is doable I have probably done it or come close to doing it. I talked with Fr. Greg for about a month before I could go to confession and it took about an hour (more but eh) to get through everything I had done in the span of time I had been away from the church. But you are right it may take more then just going to the sacrament, though that will be a big part of everything... find a priest to talk to first about all the stuff then eventually going to the sacrament will be easier because you ahve already put it all out there.

 
At 3:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My problem is trying to get my confession out without literally falling apart. I cannot seem to help myself from getting very emotional. I have only gone to priests I don't know, or I can only imagine the number of pieces I'd then fall into. The last time I went to confession, the priest acted as if he felt the need to comfort me, which just made me feel plain odd. I couldn't tell you if the emotion comes from regret, embarassment or a combination of both, but an HOUR (per Kat's comment) of it and the poor man would need a wet vac to get me out of the confessional!

 
At 9:07 PM, Anonymous Kat said...

Well, I am sure Fr. Greg or Fr. Mike could scrounge up a wet vac if nessisary. Or at the very least a mop and bucket.

I have found the key to the "biggies" and yes there have been a few since coming back to the church, it to take big deep breaths and NOT look at the priest when I am getting "it" out but that is just my coping mechanism which may not work for anyone else. But it may be that you are holding on to alot of guilt, or you are beating yourself up about something... whatever it is is absolvable but you may need to just sit down with someone be it Fr. Greg or another priest and talk it out talk about thoes things that are bugging you... I know for a fact taht Fr. Greg has this huge box of tissues in his office... I have used that box of tissues a number of times. And trust me you can't shock the man... I know from experiance. . . ok soo...I am probably the reason you can't shock the man but whose counting. And while we joke about his confession schedule being 24/7 he is being honest about it. Anyone anytime and probably anywhere.

 
At 10:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is a rather LARGE box of tissue, for it's size was something that I actually noted- funny that you mention it.

I don't know, Kat- I've a lot of "biggies". Between you and me, I fear I'll turn that nice, young priest gray! Glad you've tested him out first to discover the unshockable factor, very reassuring.

Seriuosly- thanks for sharing so openly.

 
At 6:45 AM, Anonymous Kat said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 7:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anons having trouble believing in the Eucharist: Yes, it certainly helps if you were brought up and properly taught about the sacrament! However, as you can read on this site, many cradle Catholics had epiphanies about the real presence in adulthood.

Also my husband is a convert! He was raised Lutheran. He went through RCIA and struggled a lot with the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. He said that he wanted to believe, that he was trying to believe, but that it was hard!

Then we started going to adoration and benediction. It was then that he was overcome by the presence of our Lord. He had is epiphany.

 
At 10:18 PM, Anonymous mindy said...

Going to Adoration definately helps. It's my favorite time in the church. It's peaceful and the focus is clear- both things I greatly appreciate.

I'm a visual person. I love going to churches just to appreciate the architecture and art. I've been to some of the most famous cathedrals in the world and have marveled in both the methods of their erections and contents of their art. However, my favorite time in church is being in our own. I especially love being in our church early, before others arrive for weekend Mass and during weekday masses (my favorite). I can sit there and marvel at the scale of all. I love that all is big. From the size of the altar to the number of pews, I sit in awe of the enormity. Maybe some would find this hard to understand, but when I enter the church and feel small, it is reassuring. It reminds me, no matter the importance I place on my trials, none will ever compare with those Christ and his mother, our beloved Mary endured. It always gives me hope.

 

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